Morning Favs: Chorizo & Potato Breakfast Burritos

In our house, WE LOVE BURRITOS. We love Mexican food to be exact, but breakfast burritos happen around here fairly regularly because:

  • they’re cheap
  • they’re tasty
  • they’re easy
  • they store well in the freezer
  • they’re awesome for a quick breakfast on the go during the week.

Making one or two with the leftovers during the weekend will eventually create a valuable stockpile of burritos you can pull from as you jolt out the door during the week.

Having grown up in Southern California and Arizona, I find that my tastes for “authentic” Mexican food is a little different from the typical local restaurant and that the further you get from “the border”, the more the idea varies. Don’t even get me started on that junk they serve at Taco Bell! I struggled to find a good chorizo y papas (chorizo & potato) burrito in Colorado; I haven’t even tried since I hit Tulsa.

My husband fell in love with chorizo burritos after the first time I made them but never really respected the “technique” until he was confronted with making them himself. While his attempt was a valiant effort, he just couldn’t understand what I did to make them so yummy! You see, lots of places will make it like he did, with a layer of scrambled eggs and a layer of the sausage topped with the potatoes, but it ends up being salty, spicier and the texture just isn’t quite as nice. Here’s the secret to a rockin’ chorizo burrito.

Ingredients:

  • Tortillas (burrito size)
  • Eggs (8-12 depending on how spicy you like things)
  • Frozen potato shreds (hash browns) or Potato O’Brien Mix
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Salsa of your choice

Directions:

  1. In one skillet, cook potatoes according to directions on their package. Set aside.
  2. In second skillet, open the chorizo and squeeze into the skillet over medium heat. Immediate crack open desired number of eggs into the same pan (the more eggs you add, the less spicy it will be. We are spice wimps, so we go with no less than 8 eggs to a tube of chorizo sausage.) Mix the eggs and sausage together until it looks like an orange pan of scrambled eggs; the sausage will blend into the eggs without any lumps if cooked over a medium-low heat. The sausage will be cooked once the eggs are sufficiently hard scrambled.
  3. Place a scoop of the chorizo mix down the middle of a tortilla. Top with a scoop of potatoes, shredded cheese and salsa. If you’re eating it right away, feel free to add some sour cream to taste. Fold the top and bottom in, then roll from one side to the other.
  4. Leftovers: build burritos (minus sour cream), fold and wrap in tin foil and store burritos in a freezer bags. Freeze until ready to eat. To re-heat, remove foil, wrap in damp paper towel and microwave for 2 minutes.

Is anyone else craving burritos now? I’ll be in the kitchen if you’re looking for me…..making burritos 😉

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Tulsa & Claremore | This Week(end)

What’s happening this week/weekend? As parents, we tend to get lost in the daily to-do lists and then find ourselves wondering at the end of the week what we are going to do with the family this weekend. So there we are, driving the kids home from school on a sunny Friday afternoon and the question hits, “Mom, what are we doing this weekend?” The terror set in; I hadn’t even thought about dinner and here I was supposed to have an agenda for the weekend? My answer: “Er…..uh…..stuff. Yeah, we are gonna do cool STUFF!” not wanting to over-promise and under-deliver.

That’s the scene for many parents this afternoon, but I’ve got you covered – you know, just in case you’re like me and hadn’t really thought about it.


 

In Tulsa:

Saturday, Feb 27th:

  • Herman & Kate Kaiser are offering Sensory Storytime from 1-10th at 0:30AM-Noon at 5202 S Hudson, Suite B, Tulsa)
  • Holland Hall Book Fair, $1/person. Holland Hall, 5666 E 81st ST, 8am-5pm. http://www.hollandhall.org for more info.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Board Game Day, Suburban Acres Library, 4606 N Garrison, Tulsa. Noon to 2pm.
  • Kristin Chenoweth Broadway Boot Camp Audition: open casting call for students grades 9-12 starting at 9am. Callbacks will be on Sunday starting at 1pm. Broadway Boot Camp will take place June 6-10th at the Broken Arrow Performing Arts Center. For more info, call 918-259-5723.
  • Manga-Ai! Manga/Anime Club (free). Come watch Japanese anime, sketch and discuss animation with others. For ages 12-18. Martin Regional Library, 2601 S Garnett Rd, 2:30-3:30pm.
  • JBF Sale in Tulsa: huge consignment sale with clothing, toys, furniture and more. Expo Square/Fairgrounds. 2/28-3/5, times vary.  See Tulsa Kids Magazine for a coupon for free admission (pg 44). http://www.tulsa.jbfsale.com
  • Family Studio Saturdays @ Philbrook: explore making art, creative thinking, ideas, exploration and collaboration. Philbrook Museum of Art: 2727 S Rockford Rd. Drop in 12:30pm-3:30pm.

Next Week:

Monday 2/29 in Tulsa:

  • Preschool Story Time at Bixby Library, 20 E Breckenridge, 11-11:30am
  • Preschool Story Time at Broken Arrow Library, 300 W Broadway in Broken Arrow, 10:30-11am
  • My First Storytime at Hardesty Regional Library (8616 E 93rd ST) 10-10:20am
  • Fitness on the Green @ Fly Loft (free): Yoga at 5:30pm.

In Claremore this week/end:

Saturday 2/17:

  • Daisy BB Gun Day at JM Davis Arms Museum, Sat 2/27, $3 for adults. Shooting gallery contests to win Daisy BB Rifle, 10a-3pm.
  • Claremore History Museum, Open Saturdays ($2) 11am-3pm.
  • Me & My Guy Dance, Father/Daughter Dance, 6pm, RSU Centennial Center.
  • Claremore Faith Wild Game Banquet & Silent Auction, Family Life Center: 901 South Faith Lane. 6pm. Admission is $5 per adult, $3 for children ages 4 – 12 and admission is free for children 3 and under.

Next week

Monday 2/29:

  • Genealogy Assistance at Will Rogers Library, The Genealogy Volunteers are at the library every Monday evening (except holidays) to help with your genealogy research, assist in using the library’s genealogy databases, and answer questions. No appointment necessary, just drop by! (Please note: Volunteers are here to help, however they can not do private research for any individual family search.)

Tuesday 3/1:

  • Jr. Lego Club at Will Rogers Library, 4-4:45pm, ages 5-9, meets on the first Tuesday of the month.
  • Color Me Happy, Adult Coloring Club at Will Rogers Library, 11am-12pm, materials provided but feel free to bring your own pencils.

Wednesday 3/2:

  • Baby & Me Storytime (birth to 2 years old) at Will Rogers Library, 9:30-9:55am
  • Preschool Storytime (age 3-5) at Will Rogers Library, 10-10:30am

 

Love Thyself: Affirmations for Moms

Being a Mom is hard work but oh so totally worth it! I meet Moms every day that wear that tired and frazzled look on their face but I know that not one of them would ever trade a second away from their child for the world……maybe a spa day or a glass of wine…..(you know I’m kidding, right? Maybe?)

We are a strange and selfless breed who joke about such things but if it ever came down to it, we almost always choose the kids. It’s what we do; that’s why it’s important to take care of yourself if/when you get the chance.

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Start Slow

We spend the first twenty to thirty years of our lives learning to take care of ourselves. It’s a slow process, but just as we have it all figured out…. POOF! Life changes, kids are born and we forget all over again. That primal need to care for babies takes over and completely overrides our sense of self. We give it all to the babies ❤

Start by purposefully carving out a minute or two to just clear your thoughts.

I know this molehill sounds like a mountain but its the first and hardest step in the right direction. If you’re completely inundated with noise and kids, take a cue from your husband! Lock yourself in the bathroom and stick a pair of headphones in your ears. Meditate. Clear you mind and just rrrrreeeelaaaaaxxxxx. Go to your imaginary happy place.

Just two minutes. That’s one song.

Easier said than done, right? I’m no pro, in fact I still work at this one whenever I can. Mama needs a time out sometimes…..

Just as you have trained your family to depend on you, you can also train them to give the space you need. It takes time, but they’ll eventually get it.

Now, let me be clear, don’t be leaving the children unattended (if you can help it) but know that this two minute exercise can eventually lead into a 10 minute shower without interruptions….. yes, I know….. a shower without interruptions sounds like Heaven, right? It can and will happen if you keep working at it 🙂

Okay, so how do we keep our sanity for the other 23 hours and 58 minutes of the day?

Breathing and affirmations. Take a deep breath, count to 5 or 10 and paste these affirmations all over the house!!!!!! Oh, and strangely enough, I’ve found that when I”m overly stressed, yoga helps me re-center myself and the bonus is that my kids love to do yoga with me! Try it – they’re insanely cute when they try to Downward Dog ❤

Affirmations for Moms

  1. Not loving every moment of motherhood doesn’t mean I don’t love being a mom.
  2. I’m not the perfect mother, but I’m exactly the one my children need.
  3. The decisions made by other moms do not need to dictate mine.
  4. Today I will be an intentional parent.
  5. Today I will see the best in my child and the best in myself.

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What’s your favorite tip for self-care? What are you favorite affirmations?

If you love my content and want to see more stuff like it in your email (instead of hunting down new posts), sign up for the newsletter: here. Oh, and if you have some mommy friends that you think would enjoy my blog, please share on social media! TTFN!

 

Fun Valentine’s Day Recipes: No Red Dye

I had no idea how hard it would be to keep my son away from red food dye once he started kindergarten, but after a rocky first month (last August), I was finally able to get my son and his teacher on the same page regarding what he could and couldn’t eat at school.

Some of you are probably rolling your eyes at this point, thinking I’ve lost my marbles and must be an overly “crunchy” mom who feeds my child ridiculous things…..you couldn’t be further from the truth. My own mother thought it was a silly notion — until she witnessed the change in my son, herself.

My son is an adorable, kind-hearted, obedient and smart little boy who loves going to school. He’s a bit on the shy side but seems to make friends relatively easily once he comes out of his shell a bit. When he has even the smallest amount of red dye in his food or drink, he becomes a nightmare poster child for ADHD until its out of his system (for the next three days straight) and he cannot sleep to save his life in that time-span…you can imagine how difficult life is for the rest of us but for him, it’s even harder to understand WHY he can’t control himself, concentrate, sleep or even sit still. He becomes an emotional little wreck all because of some “harmless” food additive to make treats more visually appealing. So, we have learned to collectively avoid any and all foods with red dye as a family and I’ve taught him how to make these decisions at school and to speak up about it when I’m not around.

So, as you can imagine, my heart sank when I saw the heart-themed weekly newsletter that was sent home in his backpack, proclaiming that there would be a Valentine’s Day Party at school next week. At first came the fear of there being no peace in the house for half the week following the party, then the anger that my son couldn’t participate in the candy-eating goodness. I want my son to enjoy all of the little things that make childhood magical and special – I want him to have a normal childhood in every way, but here we are faced with the choice of sitting it out or taking control.

WE CHOOSE TO TAKE CONTROL.

For all of you who have kids with red dye sensitivities or allergies, I have pulled together a list of fun recipes you can do with your kids to celebrate all of the sweet red goodness that is Valentine’s Day.

I’ll be making some of these treats for my family this week and likely sending a good chunk of it to school with my son to be enjoyed during the party because I know it’s more special to him that way – when it’s enjoyed by all the kids and not alone at home.

If you have any recipes or additions you’d like to share, please comment and let us know! I am always looking for new tips and ideas 🙂

I’ve created a Pinterest Board for all of you who are looking for some fun ideas sans the red food dye. Check it out here.

Also, if you have a recipe that you LOVE and want to keep it, just swap the type of dyes used. Natural food coloring is available on Amazon made from vegetable colorants. I only just found out about these awesome little dyes and would totally check them out but the adventurous side of me kind of wants to play Betty Crocker!

As a side note, I also found Marachino Cherries at the store yesterday sans the red dye! They’re not as bright and pretty but it does afford those sensitive to red dye the chance to enjoy the taste and novelty of having a “cherry on top” with all of the other cool kids.

Here’s a summary of my favorites that will be tried in our house this year:

For those of you with a broken oven or who just don’t bake, there’s a few ideas on the board for you, too! Be sure to check out the gummies, pancakes or pink pasta. (Also note, some baking recipes can also be prepared by the cup in the microwave).

For more resources on recipes without red dye, check out this blog: Red Dye Free!

Be sure to sign up for my newsletter for info on the re-release of my e-book! Occasionally, I will send out free printable templates, recipes and meal plans as wells as updates and deals only made available to subscribers. Sign up here.

And The World Didn’t Fall Apart

I was bedridden on Saturday, laid up in tons of pain, unable to move from the crippling pain I felt in my neck. I had somehow re-activated an old whiplash injury by sleeping – Who knew that sleeping could be so dangerous?

There have been many times where people say things like, “take care of yourself first” or “this is your body’s way of saying it needs a break” but clearly moms like us never listen to these gems of wisdom because we just have way too much to do!

The weight of the world rests on our shoulders and we are the unspoken defenders of the universe who keep everything in order. As moms, it is ingrained in our DNA to protect our family, feed them, clothe them, watch out for them when they can’t/won’t and generally direct the traffic of our lives. WE are the traffic control signal that keeps order in our little town so without us, it’s just natural to believe that all chaos would ensue.

But it didn’t.

As I found myself unable to move, the world picked up where I left off. My husband played referee for the day, my kids came into the bedroom periodically to give me hugs and update me on their day and my husband brought me food.

It was the mini vacation I always dreamed of but I could hardly enjoy it because of the blinding pain.

I learned that although we can make a million reasons as to why we can’t or shouldn’t take care of ourselves, we really have no valid excuse as to why we don’t. Fear is a crazy thing that grips all of us, paralyzes us in our tracks and keeps us from taking any time for ourselves. Very few of us have actually mastered the art of self-care; you are a rare breed. I am part of the rest of us who need a little more work in perfecting that skill.

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For some of us, it’s not the fear of thinking the world will implode without our direction, for some of us, it’s the fear that taking care of yourself will be seen as selfish. Let me tell you, it’s okay to be selfish sometimes as long as that act is what keeps you in the game.

For some of us, we are just too busy and we forget to take care of ourself until it’s too late in the evening and our energy is completely zapped. This is common for Type A personalities…. I fall into this category.  Even while I was laid up, I was watching webinars to better myself in the business arena. Because vacations are for wimps (just kidding – I know better now).

You can’t do your job well (or at all) if you don’t take care of yourself first.

My blog series this month is going to focus on taking care of yourself, your husband and your family. Stay tuned for the next installment and please share if you feel it can help someone you know. This may be a blog, but it is also a community for moms just like you to relate and find reprieve. We can do this together!

 

Recipe: Apple Butter in the Crock Pot

Mmmmmmmm! Nothing says Fall like apples and everything apple spiced! I know the rest of the world goes gaga over anything pumpkin spice, but that fascination, for me, doesn’t begin until Thanksgiving and it ends around Christmas.  The period where the weather actually cools and leaves change will forever be ingrained in my brain as apple season – probably because I am originally from Southern California and I have fond memories of roadside stands overflowing with baskets of fresh picked apples and real apple cider!

My mom was big into the pre-packaged food revolution so I only ever had store bought apple butter growing up. while store bought apple butter is still yummy, homemade apple butter will put it to shame!  Homemade apple butter is just so much more vibrant tasting. You’ll have to try it to see what I mean 🙂

Homemade Apple Butter (Small batch Recipe)

If you’re anything like me, you probably don’t have a ton of storage space, so making 12 jars of anything just isn’t realistic for you.  A lot of recipes around the internet make large batches which 1- makes me hate peeling and coring apples by the time I’m done and 2- takes up way too much space.  Ain’t nobody got time for that! Making apple butter in smaller batches means only 1 or 2 jars at a time, which means less goes to waste!

For the cost of a few apples and using spices you already have on hand, you can enjoy that sweet apple-y goodness that every family should experience in Fall!

Ingredients:
  • 3-4 large apples. (Granny Smith = zingy flavor, Red Delicious = classic flavor)
  • 4 cinnamon sticks, whole
  • 1 cup of brown sugar (to taste)
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
Directions:
  1. Peel, core and slice apples thinly and evenly.  It’s important to remove the skin and seeds because they will make the apple butter bitter.
  2. Please apples in crock pot, sprinkle sugar, cloves and place cinnamon sticks on top. Stir.
  3. Cook on low for 10-12 hours (I usually just pop it in after dinner for the following morning’s breakfast).
  4. Texture: I like mine a little more textured so I don’t really give mine more than a few stirs during cooking time but some people prefer a smoother texture.  If you prefer a smoother texture, take a hand mixer or whisk to your apple butter before pouring to jars.
  5. If it appears a little runny after the allotted cook time, try cooking for 1 hour with the lid off, then cool slightly before putting into jars or freezer safe containers.

It’s important to note that homemade foods do not contain a ton of preservatives like the store-bought foods, so it will spoil relatively quickly.  Try to use or freeze the batch within a week to be safe.

There you have it, ladies & gents! It’s really that cheap and that easy 🙂

Now go and enjoy…….

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Product Review: Crayola Color Alive App & Coloring Pages

As my family and I prepare to move for the first time (to another state), I find myself searching for fun things to keep the kids occupied on the long car ride out.  We will essentially be in the car from sun up to sun down – this is no easy feat for kiddos of preschool and kindergarten ages.

Last time we made the trip to visit family, roughly 8 months ago, I stopped by the dollar store and loaded up on lots of cheap new toys to capture their attention on the ride.  This lasted roughly two hours.

I find that coloring books can be a huge help for creative kids since coloring takes some time to complete a page.  The downside is that crayons often fall to the floor, inciting tantrums for the smallest of the two kids and potential melted messes for me if not caught soon enough in the summer heat.  The tip here is to make sure you have a limited number of crayons for car use and count them to make sure you have them all when you get out of the car.

On my last trip to Walmart, the kids were begging for some new toys (because they get one every time they go with Grandma, so they expect it from me now, too, lol!).  I put a $5 cap on the spending per child in an attempt to get out for cheap.  Well, they won…. they each ended up with a cheap toy fitting the price cap AND a new coloring book!

My oldest found a really cool coloring book retailing for just under $7.  The coloring book itself wasn’t the cool part though… (I’m a cheap-o when it comes to coloring books, so if it didn’t come with the capabilities it offers via the accompanying app, I would have passed it up).

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The Crayola Color Alive series features standard coloring pages with small set of crayons that, when scanned into the app, can be rendered into “4D” using the same coloring patterns your child put on the page.  The drawing comes alive and moves on the screen!  How cool is that?

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This is sure to capture my 5 year old’s attention on the long car ride – if only for an hour or two. There are 16 pages to color in the book, so while that’s considerably less pages than a standard coloring book, I have to admit the whole “bring it to life app” is pretty cool.

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The downside to the entire thing, other than a shortage of coloring pages is that the app seems a little buggy.  It seems to crash a lot or freeze on my iPad and it doesn’t seem to auto-scan the image the way it’s supposed to, so I am forced to line up the image with a template before screen capture which can result in a less than accurate rendering of your child’s coloring skills (ours had uncolored areas when he actually colored over the lines).

Since my almost-three-year-old likes to do everything her big brother does, I found they offer free downloadable/printable coloring pages from the website.  Without spending extra money to prepare for the trip, I can print girly pages for her (she loves girly stuff) and   let her participate in the fun, too!

Thank you, Crayola! (Nope, I wasn’t paid to say that) You may have saved my sanity for a small portion of our road trip. He spent about 30 minutes coloring the page and, so far, another 30 minutes playing with his new dragon friend 🙂

Death is Never Easy.

There it is. I knew it was coming and thought I was prepared to handle it, but the text came in a few minutes ago that my dog had “passed peacefully.” Although the words themselves are designed to say it softer, the reality of it hit me like a semi and after a few brief minutes of staring at the screen, blinking in disbelief, it started to sink in.

I picked JJ (short for Jesse James) out when he was just three days old. He was the first dog of my adult life and the only one I had owned full-time all to myself. My only other experiences were friend’s houses and when I’d visit my Dad’s house during Summer Break.

He was a stubborn PITA but I loved him nonetheless. He was originally a gift for my ex but when we broke up, he left the dog to starve in the back yard (I had moved out first). Being the animal lover that I am, I took him in and loved him like he deserved to be loved. He was a loveable little troublemaker like Marley in Marley and Me, except he was a Black Lab mixed with German Shepherd and Chesapeake Bay Retriever; hyper, smart, stubborn, strong & sweet. He was also great with cats, babies and small children but feared the wind, plastic bags, shadows and moving boxes, lol!

Anyways, fast-forward a few years and I met my husband. They hated each other at first sight and while my husband tried & tried to convince me to get rid of the dog, I always replied with, “No, he’s been around longer than you have!” (That always won the argument, lol). Well, eventually he finally talked me into having JJ move to the in-law’s house because my FIL is retired, my BIL is always home and they have a yard; we live in an upstairs condo with exterior stairs that ice up in the winter and at the time, I had just given birth to our first child.  The idea of navigating icy stairs with a newborn in my hands while an 80lb dog tows me along was a little too frightening to bear and leaving a newborn unattended while I take the dog out for piddle breaks and walks just didn’t sound like a bright idea so eventually, he won- JJ moved in with the in-laws.

They spoiled the snot out of him. I watched every ounce of training fly out the door and eventually, the high-strung dog gave way to a dog that resembled more of a bear rug than an 80lb bouncy ball.  He was living “the life” with 24/7 companionship, Milk Bones galore and the occasional table scrap.

In more recent years, he was starting to have issues with arthritis, as large breed dogs tend to late in life.  He would struggle to get up or lay down on the hardwood floors and was slow about moving about if the weather didn’t agree with him. They had put him on anti-inflammatory drugs to help with the pain, but it still seemed like he had lots of life left in him; my loveable nanny dog.

Right around the turn of the New Year, the in-laws informed me that JJ had a rare, inoperable cancer on the roof of his mouth and radiation was not certain although expensive and chemo would kill him. They said it would probably progress quickly and that it would either grow up into his brain or block his airway because of where it is.  In the last week, it had grown quite a bit and you could tell he was suffering more and more.  He was also starting to waste away, as people do with cancer.  He was dropping weight daily and had stopped drinking water.  When I saw him on Sunday, they were saying it wouldn’t be long now.

Well, *the* text just came in. In a haze, I headed to the bathroom to blow dry my hair because I was supposed to go to the store for groceries but as I turned on the drier, the hot tears began to flow.  At least I was alone in my sorrow for a minute because the kids scatter when the dryer turns on.  A few tears at first but then the floodgates opened and it was unstoppable.  I was full-on ugly crying in the bathroom mirror and could do nothing to stop it.

I miss him. I’m not as prepared for this as I thought I would be and at some point, I have to pony up and tell my son (he LOVED JJ and was crying when we told him on Sunday to say his goodbyes).

My son learned about death just two months ago when one of our cats died of intestinal cancer. He wasn’t too fond of that particular pet so it didn’t really phase him except the vivid image of what pets really look like when they die.  He was more concerned about MY grief but this time *I know* it’s going to hurt him and I am not looking forward to it, but at least we can grieve together and I can show him that grieving is healthy, appropriate and okay.

Now, to strategically find a time/way to tell him…..

What No One Tells You About Being a SAHM | Eatin’ Cheap

Omigosh! My ebook is officially listed on Amazon and it’s available for pre-order! The release date is February 1st and it’s only $3.99.  I can’t believe I am actually tempted to download my own book! *Squee!*


 

Okay, before I have a mini coronary, let me back the excitement train up……Sorry for the verbal vomit; I’ve since turned on The Cure Radio station on iHeartRadio and I have regained my composure (for the moment).

Two and a half years ago my husband and I made the decision that I should quit my corporate job to stay home with the two children we now had together. As miserable as I was in the corporate world, I was glad to do so and agreed without a further thought.  We were taking over a salon (he’s a hair stylist) and there was no doubt that it could fail because we are both so talented in what we do (his experience with hair and beauty, mine with marketing, management and photography).

According to Bloomberg, 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months. A whopping 80% crash and burn. We burned. With the dawn of the new year, we closed our little salon venture; we kept the doors open for 25 agonizing months.

We failed because we didn’t have enough capital, our target stylists had already rented independant suites and the bright shiney re-development of the area surrounding our salon didn’t happen.  It wasn’t a lack of customers walking in the door. The city failed us and we were not a fit for the market surrounding us because we planned for what was supposed to happen, not what was already there.

Most people think that salon owners are rolling in the dough and it couldn’t be farther from the truth. We struggled from day one and it only got harder as days wore on.  Living from paycheck to paycheck would have been a blessing because we were literally living from day to day, wondering if we would have a roof over our head in the morning and if we would be able to eat the next meal.

I started shopping cheap.  Like spaghetti, ramen noodles or mac n cheese every night kind of cheap and we paid for it with our health.  We had to do something to eat better; there HAD to be some other way.

I started budgeting $50/week for groceries because that’s all we could afford. I spent more on groceries than that when I was single, but now I had to feed four hungry mouths with that meager budget!  I had to scour the sale ads for multiple stores to find the best deals. I collected every coupon I could get my hands on and started compiling my list of secrets to make that $50 stretch until the next week. I made meal plans and I researched the cheapest meals and recipes out there to find some variation for our table because eating the same dishes every week gets to be boring; meals can’t be boring when you have a preschooler and a toddler!!!

When I started telling people what I was doing, their eyes lit up, especially when they could see it was working! So, I did what any self-respecting mama would do (no, not stripping!), I wrote a book.  The book contains the easy to replicate strategy, shopping list printables, a 1-week meal plan and recipes for each of the meals contained within the plan.  I will be releasing follow up meal plans to help supplement the rest of the month/year and keep you within budget.

So, my point about what no one tells you about being a SAHM:

  • While it’s amazing rewarding and fulfilling to my heart, sometimes mommy just needs a time out!
  • When I do finally get some time to myself, I immediately miss the craziness I wanted a time out from.
  • When away from my kids for any period of time, I feel like I left a limb at home, like I am functioning as an amputee. I feel awkward and can’t trump the feeling that something is missing. Just feels weird.
  • No one wants to hire you after a long period of self-employment or being a SAHM because of the unverifiable “employment” even though you’ve probably never worked harder in your life. Makes me want to smack someone!  Yet, I am thankful for the opportunity to continue staying home with the kids.  Fact is, most of us can’t afford to stay home, but we do it of love.  If there’s anything the last few years have proven to me, its that you really can live in love (and just a little bit of money).

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Abracadabra | Cookie Recipe Turned Into Muffins

Yesterday morning was much like any other except that I was more groggy than usual.  The kids were nipping at my heels, asking about breakfast the moment my feet hit the floor. My husband was rushing around trying to get out the door and my only saving grace was a warm robe and a cup of coffee.

Typically, I will finish my cup of coffee before attempting to communicate or do anything…..

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Oh yeah, this picture says it all……

Anyways, the cupboards were sorta bare because I hadn’t made it out to the store, so creativity set in.  When I say creativity, I use this word loosely because at three sips into my first cup of coffee, we are lucky the neurons are firing enough for me to form words, let alone walk. Reading and comprehension levels at this point were “iffy” at best.

I decided to make oatmeal muffins.  The task seemed simple enough, I mean the recipe was right there on the oatmeal lid, so I just had one job: read & do.

I had most of the ingredients mixed together when I realized the result looked nothing like a muffin batter….nope, what I had was in fact cookie batter! Ugh. I took a sip of coffee, rubbed my eyes and re-read the title of the recipe; sure enough, it was oatmeal raisin cookies.

Crap!

We can’t have cookies for breakfast!  Well, technically we could, but I generally wouldn’t feel too awesome about giving my 2 & 4 year olds cookies for breakfast, lol! (They’d be thrilled!)

Are you ready for it?  Oh yeah….

By then, I was 2/3 done with my coffee and the brain cells were just starting to fire properly.  Like a ninja, I added about a cup of milk and 1/4 cup oil to the recipe, mixed it up and VOILA! Bob’s your uncle!

Magic ensued.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies or Muffins

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 3/4 c brown sugar (packed)
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1-1/2 c flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2-1/2 c old fashioned oats
  • 1 c raisins (I used dates because its what we had, but raisins would have been fabulous!)
  • Bonus ingredients: 1 cup milk, 1/4 cup vegetable oil

Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, beat butter and sugars on medium speed of electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Add oats and raisins; mix well.

To make muffins, do this: drink coffee and wonder why you have cookie dough and not muffin batter.  Add 1 cup milk and 1/4 cup oil to mixture, blend well and fill muffin wraps to 2/3 full.  Bake for 17 minutes or until golden brown on top and toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.  Cool in pan 3 minutes.  Remove and cool on wire rack.  Store in airtight container.

To continue making cookies: Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered.

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